I know that I first heard the phrase, “Stay in your lane,” spoken by comedian Kevin Hart years ago. He was making a joke about keeping company with other celebrities that were within his income bracket, after having put out lots of money trying to keep up with people who were making much more than him at the time. Kevin’s joke was made in the spirit of keepin’ up with the Joneses, but what’s ironic is that in the business sense, Kevin has certainly not stayed in his lane.
He has diversified his career to move beyond comedy into acting, producing, and directing. Financially, it makes sense for him to do so, but this message of not staying in one’s lane does not always get preached in black circles or around black tables. For true economic stability and progress, I encourage all black women not to stay in their lane, and here are a few reasons why.
Today’s world changes rapidly, meaning if you want to stay ahead, you must be agile. One of my favorite motivational speakers is Les Brown. One quote by Les is that if you do not make a move in this life, “life will move on you.” None of us, regardless of skin tone, education level, or class, is totally immune to the effects of gentrification, layoff, or unforeseen tragedy. Part of being successful in life is being able to adapt and act quickly in the wake of the unexpected, and having multiple talents that you can rely on, a diverse knowledge base, and a breadth of experiences can be helpful tools to help you navigate the peaks and valleys you will inevitably cycle through.